Beauty ideals and womanhood go hand in hand, from the goddess Venus to Angelina Jolie, and very little can stop what’s ingrained in our evolution. With the advent of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the country vowed to look inwards in search of spirituality, cover women from head to toe and throw away the shackles of physical attraction. Almost forty years later and Iran is the number one nose job capital of the world and top ten for plastic surgery. Iranian women walking the streets of Tehran are more beautiful and physically attractive than ever. Whoops.
Tahmineh Monzavi’s stunning series, ‘All About Me: Nicknamed Crown Giver’, reflects a strange fantasy realm where every woman can and is crowned ‘Miss Iran’. Her inspiration comes from an old beauty pageant, ‘Spring Girl’, held in Iran from 1965 to 1978, just before the revolution and its restrictions took hold. For Monzavi, the notion that every girl dreams of being more beautiful than all others is absurd, but it’s not a fault that can be blamed on women. It’s one of nature & history, and the more establishments fights against it, the more it fights to dominate us. Monzavi has instead tried to renegotiate these yearnings and find true beauty beneath all the madness.
Tahmineh Monzavi is a young award-winning photographer with a lot under her belt. Born in 1988 in Tehran, Monzavi began a professional career as a documentary photographer in 2005 after her studies at Azad University. She documented addicted women living in shelters in the outskirts of Tehran as well as transexualism and its never ending struggle to fit into the social and cultural boundaries of Iranian Society. However, Monzavi’s outlook on her work was changed after a month of imprisonment in Tehran. A year after the event, she produced ‘All About Me: Nicknamed Crown Giver’. Outside of Iran, Monzavi has exhibited at the Modern Art Museum of Paris as well as in Rome, Vienna, Boston, and Seoul. The Public House of Art is proud to exhibit her works and bring her message to Amsterdam and beyond.